We read numerous books in our lifetime but a select few stay in our memory as fresh as it has been read this day itself. Each of us has these all time favorites . I too have a few and I made an addition to that list when I turned the last page of Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet.
It’s a slim volume but never go by looks. These 10 letters were Rilke ‘s response to Franz Kappus , a new recruit to the military academy in Germany , who had sent his poetry to Rilke to ask for his opinion. The senior poet starts the first letter with his honest opinion and goes on in his subsequent correspondence in to the depths of creativity , imagination and its utilisation . It’s not just about poetry but also some very important lessons in life that these letters address to. He doesn’t preach , just tells the young man who is seemingly confused and dejected in life due to his failure in the field of poetry , to take heart , to learn new things and try to find satisfaction in his work not for the sake of others but for his inner happiness.
Reading this book is kind of experience in itself and I know I would want to read it again , very soon. Not because I would have forgotten the matter , but because it has certain things which we constantly need to remind our selves .
I will leave you with a few lines that I loved :
It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn.
So you mustn’t be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.
This would make an ideal gift to students who are just finishing school and are about to step in to the world . Even other wise this would be a great gift to anyone who loves reading.
My rating 5 out of 5